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Your Urban Pets: The Raccoon

A few years ago, I lived in a small one bedroom apartment with a fairly nice sized balcony. I thought I could jazz up the area by putting a couple pieces of patio furniture outside and enjoy the view with a book and drink in hand.

That never happen.

I had just moved in following a very long city garbage strike. The tenant before me had thoughtfully left all her garbage piled on the balcony during the long strike and I soon realized that I had acquired some unwelcome pets — a family of raccoons. Even after the garbage had been cleaned up, the raccoons decided that my balcony was still a perfect home and made it known they were not leaving. For weeks, I was met each morning with a raccoon banging on my sliding glass door, waving hello and then leaving their mark on my patio chair.

Last week, the CBC television network aired a special on raccoons in the City of Toronto. The program, Raccoon Nation, follows a family of urban raccoons over the course of six months as they live amongst us. The show tells us that the raccoon population has grown significantly over the past seventy years, making Toronto the raccoon capital of the world. It is reported that fifty times more raccoons live in the city than in the surrounding countryside. If you live in an urban dwelling, no doubt, you are familiar with these creatures. They live on your roof, dig in your backyard and knock over your garbage and organic waste bins (You should really buy an urbin!).  These creatures will eat just about anything and just love hanging out in your yard, whether they are invited or not.

If raccoons are a pest for you, here are some tips for reducing your urban pet:

  • Store garbage inside a garage, basement or (urbin) bin until the morning of pick up.
  • Sprinkle strong smelling repellents such as oil of mustard, naphtha flakes or ammonia in or around the composter and garbage.
  • Install lights around garbage storage area.
  • Clean up after barbecuing and eliminate all food sources.
  • Remember that raccoons can carry the rabies virus so avoid human contact. 
  • Source: City of Toronto Animal Services

    One Comment

    1. Posted 03/04/2011 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

      The garbage strike created an unbelievable swell in the downtown raccoon population, we could hardly keep up with the demand for removal.

      It’s nice to see more people talking about urban wildlife, it’s our business so we are on the front lines.

      The furry and cute ones get off easy, we could talk about Toronto’s bats too, or skunks!

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